Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Rainbow Bridge

I didn't want to post about it on Motivational Monday, but yesterday was a very sad day for us. We had to say good-bye to Paolo.

If you've been reading my blog from the beginning, then you remember when we first found Paolo living in our shed. He was SO skinny, but a truly beautiful Himalayan cat.


I didn't want four cats, however, so instead of bringing him inside, I started trying to find a home for him. One of the moms I knew from the kids' preschool said she would take him, and that ended up being a disaster. She lied about a lot of things, and ended up dumping Paolo back at my house.

I refused to have a fourth cat, so I kept trying to find him a home. But one night, it was raining, and the poor cat was huddled in the cat carrier that I set outside for him. My heart broke for him, so I let him in. And he really hasn't been outside ever since! I never did find him a home, so he became our fourth cat, and we named him Paolo (going with the Friends theme in naming our pets).


Paolo was a quirky cat--very snobby, but to the point where it was humorous. When we'd set food in front of him, he'd sniff it and then turn his nose in the air like, "You really expect me to eat that? Where's my tuna tartare?"

He was very lovable, though, and adored to be petted and fussed over. When I'd get out his brush, he was right at my feet, waiting for me to groom him, while the other cats ran and hid. Whenever anyone would pet him, he'd spread his toes wide and then curl them back in, like he was trying to grab onto you and not let go.


He had an obsession with water, and he would only drink water that was pouring from the faucet. When he was thirsty, he'd run to the bathtub and start meowing until we'd turn it on for him (yes, he trained us). Eventually, I bought him a cat drinking fountain, so he'd always have running water to drink. Even then, he still liked the actual faucet.


Paolo never really learned his name. The other three cats come when we call their names, but Paolo would come when we'd call ANY of the cats' names. All you had to do was make a ticking noise with your tongue or call one of the cats' names, and Paolo would be there, thinking you wanted to shower him with attention.


We knew Paolo was old, but we weren't sure just HOW old. Over the past year, I started to think that maybe he was even older than than the 10-12 years we'd originally guessed, because he started to act differently. He started showing all the signs of feline dementia, and for the past few months, the symptoms were getting much worse. We took him to the vet to rule out disease or something curable, and learned that sure enough, he was "normal"--just getting old.

A couple of nights ago, Paolo was really agitated, and was meowing really loudly and pacing around the house. If a cat can "look" confused, he most certainly did. He was finding spots to hide, he wasn't eating, he was sleeping almost constantly, he didn't enjoy being groomed or even petted much anymore, and he'd gotten even skinnier than he already was (you could see all of his bones). His fur looked terrible, and his eyes were glazed over.

Jerry and I started to think that it was time to make a decision about euthanizing him. I felt horrible about it, but Paolo really seemed miserable. I looked up symptoms of a dying cat, and Paolo pretty much had the entire checklist. I couldn't bear the thought of taking him to the vet, so Jerry did it. The vet checked out Paolo, and said he agreed that Paolo's time had come. I don't want to write about the rest, but Jerry stayed with Paolo the whole time, and said it was peaceful.

We only had Paolo for three years, but I had gotten attached to him. Jerry and I liked to poke fun at his little quirks, and we always joked, "Oh, we're still looking for a home for him!" when someone would ask, but we knew that he had become our cat. The house seems different without him now.

Even though I didn't want four cats in the beginning, it turned out to be a blessing that things didn't work out with the home I'd found for him. Having him here turned out to be better for him AND us, and we will definitely miss him!



58 comments:

  1. So sorry Katie. Paolo seemed like he was like a true "friend." I too have a cat. Sharing in your loss....

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear that you lost your kitty. We lost our dog in April and I still look around to see where he is in the mornings. You gave him a good life.

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  3. I am so sorry for you and your family. At least Paolo had a good home for the last part of his life.

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  4. Katie

    I'm so sorry...I too have been in this position twice, and will be there again sooner than I'd like.

    I have so enjoyed getting to know Paolo through your posts... he came to join your life and your family for many reasons and blessings no doubts ...

    A wonderful gift of unmeasured love... both from Paolo , yourself and family ...thinking about you and your family in the days to come...

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  5. So sorry for your loss. You gave Paolo the best life a kitty could ask for and he gave you many moments of laughter and love. <3

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  6. I'm so very sorry to hear this. It's funny how the best pets find us. God bless and heal.

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  7. Sorry for your loss. That's such a tough decision, but a blessing to do what's best for our pets. You all gave Paolo a loving home to spend his senior years! Peace.

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  8. I am so sorry. It is heart wrenching to lose a pet. You and your family were very kind to give him a home. I hope the story of Paolo and the joy he brought to your family will inspire others to open their homes to animals in need.

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  9. I'm sorry, Katie. Paolo sounds like he was full of character. <3

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  10. Sending you love and hugs. He went to the Rainbow Bridge with love in his heart.

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  11. I'm not a cat person, but you got my all teary eyed reading about Paolo. Sorry for your loss.

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  12. Such a nice tribute to Paolo. Lovely cat, lovely pictures.

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  13. I am so sorry for your loss. It is obvious Paolo was where he was supposed to be for the past 3 years. Pets are furry family members and it is so hard to say goodbye. Sending love and hugs to you.

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  14. He was a beautiful kitty. I'm so sorry for your loss.. that's one of the worst decisions to ever have to make. Hugs to you, Jerry, and your kids.

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  15. Oh sweet Paolo! I hope he's in a place with an ever dripping faucet and lots of bushes. I'm sorry for your family's loss.

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  16. I'm so terribly sorry for your loss Katie. Really, truly sorry. Losing a pet is losing a member of the family and warrants many tears. My cat passed away 7 years ago and once in awhile I'll miss her and cry a little. They're family, and they are never forgotten!

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  17. Katie,
    Sorry for your loss of Paolo. I am an animal lover too and lost my cat of 16 yrs. a couple years ago. They sure become like family. We never forget them.

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  18. Sorry for your loss of Paolo.

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  19. I'm so sorry about the loss of Paolo. He was beautiful, and you were so good to take him in and take such good care of him in his later years. I'm sure he was grateful to have found your family to be his final home.

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  20. So sorry to hear about Paolo. I'm glad he was able to spend the time he did with a family that loved him so much. We had to put our cat Gizzy down after 10 years because of a large tumour in her abdomen. I still miss her like crazy, and it's been 4 years.

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  21. Katie, I'm so sorry...I know how hard that is--we had to say good-bye to our 19-year-old grey tabby 2 years ago, and I still think about her every day even though we have a young cat now and a yellow Lab. They just worm their way into your hearts. But you did such a good thing giving that gorgeous cat a good home for his final years.

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  22. I'm so sorry for your loss. Paolo had a good home with your family, and I bet he had the best last years a cat could ask for. <3

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  23. I'm really sorry for you losing Paolo. You were able to give him a loving home and make the last couple years of his life really happy.

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  24. So sorry for your loss - I've always enjoyed your stories and pictures of Paolo. Losing a pet is so difficult.

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  25. So sorry to read this ... I completely understand your feelings. Our pets are family. Much sympathy to you and your family.

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  26. Oh Katie, My heart is breaking for you. Try to rest in knowing that Paolo chose your family for a reason and was not going to let anyone (not even you LOL) get in his way. You made his last 3 years perfect and he will always be with you all.

    XOXO rest well sweet Paolo <3

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  27. I'm so sorry for your loss. Animals really become a part of your family and mean the world to us. I'm so glad that Paolo found a loving home for the rest of the time he had on earth. Bless you!

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  28. I am so, so sad to hear this! I've been a long time reader of your blog and, no lie, yesterday I was reading the Motivational Monday post and after I finished, I had this weird urge to read all your old Paolo posts. Kind of spooky know that I know what's happened to him. But just know that he is in a better place and will always be there with your family. Losing a pet is so hard. Sending lot of love your way! <3

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  29. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's amazing how your pets become a part of your family. Sending hugs!

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  30. Sorry about your kitty! I'm glad that you have some nice memories of him to keep.

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  31. As a former raiser of Himalayan cats, I have a full appreciation of their beauty. Paolo will be missed. We laugh about our little stray cat who has now wormed her way inside our house and into our hearts, saying "She's not really OUR cat." But she is, for now and forever, just as Paolo was your cat. Thank you for giving Paolo such a wonderful home and great life, all pets should be so lucky.

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  32. I'm so sorry to hear about Paolo. I started tearing up when I read this. At least you can rest knowing you gave him a loving home. He reminds me of my Siamese cat, who comes running to me no matter what I call her!

    Amanda

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  33. I'm sorry for your loss. We just had to let our family kitty go as well, so I know how hard this is.

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  34. I'm so sorry for your loss, but glad that Paolo found a loving home to live out his final years.

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  35. aw - sorry to hear that, Katie!

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  36. So sorry to hear about Paolo. I think it's so awesome that he had a wonderful family for his last years. I know it's so hard for older cats to find a home from shelters, much less being taken in off of the street! I know his last years definitely had to have been his best years. :)

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  37. That was a great post honoring Paolo. You can take comfort knowing that you helped him live out his "retirement" years in happiness.

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  38. Aww I'm so sorry. He was such a beautiful cat. I'm so glad his last few years were happy ones!

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  39. Sorry for your loss. It can be hard to lose a pet.

    I was just wondering if you noticed the post from Kelly at CurvyFitGirl last week? I feel like I found one or the other of you through the other one.

    She has lost a ton of weight - good for her, but she lost all respect from me (and readership) when she chose to set up a GoFundMe page for her weight loss surgery. She wrote right in her post that she needs to have two surgeries and they are very expensive because she lives in NY and everything costs more there (irrelevent). I'm just so disappointed that someone would ask for funds for something purely cosmetic. I wrote in the comments that I have only seen people set up those pages and solicit funds for honorable and respectable reasons. What do you think, Katie? If you could go back a couple of years would you have asked your readers for help with something like that? She certainly got herself into that mess (overweight) and she got herself right back out of it in a healthy way and blogged about it to inspire others, but I just think it's so low and selfish of her to ask for money.

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  40. I'm a new reader to your blog and have enjoyed peeking in on your life. I wanted to offer my sympathies to you and your family. Your story was beautiful and thank you sharing yourself.

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  41. I just found your blog today, and I am a big-time cat person (I have two rescue cats myself). Paolo was a beautiful cat, and he was lucky to have you guys to take him in. I am sorry for your loss. Pets definitely find their way into our hearts.

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  42. Having to put a beloved pet down is a terrible experience and my heart goes out to you!

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  43. sorry about your cat. you gave him a good 4 years.

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  44. Sending lots of hugs your way - it hurts so much to lose a pet. He was beautiful and you gave him a beautiful family to be a part of for his last few years. God bless you, Katie, and your family. You've been through a lot this year. xo

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  45. So sorry. Paolo was very lucky to spend his last three years with you and your family.

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  46. I remember when you took Paolo in. It is so so hard losing a pet. I am so glad he was able to give your family such joy! Thinking of you!

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  47. Katie,
    I am so sorry to hear about your beautiful Paolo. I feel your pain as I had to put down two of my very sick 15 year old dogs in May. It is so heart breaking but I do try to think about all the good moments. You wrote a beautiful post about Paolo. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this sad time.

    Patty

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  48. What a sweet tribute to your friend. I'm so sorry you had to say goodbye, but it sounds like he found just the right home to spend his last few years.

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  49. I'm very sorry for your loss. He was part of your family and it's hard to lose them. Take care.

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  50. I'm so sorry about the loss of sweet Paolo. You gave this sweet furbaby a good and stable home. (((HUGS))) Katie.

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  51. As a fellow cat lover, I can understand the pain of the loss. But how lucky that he wandered into your life, someone who would love him and take such wonderful care of him at the end of his life.

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  52. Hey there ... heart breaking for you in your time of mourning. It doesn't matter how many times this happens, it's always like the first time. Be comforted in knowing he was saved by you, and loved by you, and will be waiting for you when it's time for you to cross the bridge.

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  53. Virtual hugs *hugs* That's a tough loss. So sorry. :(

    -Mave

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  54. I'm so sorry for your loss. You did the best things for Paolo, both by taking him in and letting him go when needed. God bless y'all as you grieve.

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  55. I'm just reading abt your loss, Katie. Losing a pet is not easy... I'm sending prayers to you and Paolo, knowing he's out of pain and always with u. Just know u gave him the best life EVER when u took him in. ((((((Hugs)))))

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  56. Oh no, Katie. I am heartbroken to find this out. I love all cats and have always thought Paolo was such a beautiful guy. I'm actually crying now thinking of how hard that decision had to be for you and how I will cope when my kitty's time comes.She's just 3 but I know time goes fast especially when animals have a relatively short lifespan. It is hard to get attached and lose someone you love, human or otherwise. Not all people get how painful it is to lose a pet, but I do and send my deepest sympathies to you and your family.

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  57. I'm sorry you had to say goodbye to your kitty. He was a pretty boy! He looks like a Ragdoll to me, though. Google "blue point ragdoll" and you'll see what I mean (seal Ragdolls have brown color points). My Ragdoll, Steve, is on my lap right now and he looks *just* like your Paolo.

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